Category Archives: Recipes

The fish, the whole fish, and nothing but the fish.

If you’re still secretly wishing you dared cook fish for Rosh Hashana (you’re supposed to…), but don’t know how to even begin, today I’ve got some good news for you: it’s breathtakingly simple.

Americans have a fear of fish. My dad took me fishing one time when I was seven, in the Adirondacks. I caught two small bass, which was no mean feat for a seven-year-old because bass are feisty. It was so exciting! I beamed on the walk back to our summer cabin. Dad cleaned and scaled the fish, and cooked them for me in a pan, and they were heavenly! Did I ever go fishing again? No. Did I develop a passion for seafood? No. What’s up with Americans? Fish is so delicious, and so not a big part of our beef-and-chicken crazy culture. Granted, we’ve got great beef, and some fine chickens.  Continue reading

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Filed under Holidays (fiestas judias), Recipes

The Biscochos Are Here!

O, Ye of little faith! You thought I’d never come across, didn’t you. Granted, I’ve really dragged my heels with this recipe, and after taking so long with it, of course I feel like my reputation’s on the line.

I can’t count the number of people who’ve asked me – begged! – for a good recipe for biscochos, and for longer than I’m comfortable admitting. (Okay. Years.)   There are two very good reasons for so much pleading, and for so much stalling on my part.

First (or second):  Biscochos – Sephardic cookie rings – are a treat often first experienced in early childhood, and never, ever forgotten. You might even have teethed on them, though I also recall gnawing on Zwieback biscuits. (“She remembers teething?” you ask. Yep. Tastes and textures die hard).

Second (or first): What constitutes a “good” biscocho is entirely subjective, and a good biscocho recipe is very elusive. It can take ages to get it right. I’m still working on mine. Continue reading

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Filed under History, Recipes

Chocolate counts.

I can’t think of a single holiday when chocolate confections weren’t served in our home. It was the Sephardic relatives, not the Ashkenazim, to whom it mattered most. It had to be on the dessert table, or some kind of self-imposed shame would befall the hostess.  Not in the recipes, mind you. On the side. Boxed chocolates, and the fancier the better.

I’ve only occasionally dwelled on that distinction between the two groups of relatives, probably precisely because we don’t incorporate chocolate into very many of our traditional recipes.  But when you stop to think that Spanish & Portuguese Jews and conversos were among the earliest (and most active) traders during the Age of Discovery, a strong historical link between Sephardim and chocolate seems fairly obvious. Continue reading

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Thanksgiving Mash-up: of Mina and Moskowitzes

When Alan Moskowitz first described to me his Sephardic grandmother’s “stuffing,” he had no idea it was a rare and important example of Sephardic-Ashkenazi fusion cuisine with an American accent! If you’re still not set on your Thanksgiving menu, the story and recipe are in today’s Daily Forward

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Filed under History, Holidays (fiestas judias), Recipes